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Warm and Cozy Fall Reuse Projects


October 23, 2013 in the midwest, the weather is starting to turn chilly. Which means it's the perfect time to make DIYs that celebrate the holiday and the changing temperatures. Football? Thanksgiving? Knit sweaters? And is there anything better than curling up with a steaming cup of apple cider, the hints of cinnamon wafting up before you even taste the hot, aromatic cider?

Check out our roundup of great DIYs to embrace the changing season (and reuse materials while they're at it). Then get to doing! Want even more inspiration? Follow us on Pinterest for a plethora of promising projects.
This stunning table runner is made with reclaimed wood. 

Need a quick centerpiece? Grab some candles, coffee beans and a pot! 

Upcycled frame + leaves + ribbon = adorable autumn decor. 

Let there be (candle) light! Go on a walk and collect the materials needed for this DIY.

I LOVE this adorable Turkey Day dessert cart. Make one yourself with reused wood!
An old rake is born again as a cheery Fall wreath. 
Have an old sweater? Upcycle it into chic leg warmers. 

Awesome, Upcycled, Autumn Adornments


September 25, 2013
It's here! FALL! The last few days of summer are slowly slipping away, replaced by crisper air, weekends packed with football and pumpkin-flavored everything (no complaints here). With the changing seasons, we find ourselves itching for a few new pieces of decor, ones that celebrate the morphing trees and declining temperatures. We want something that's economical, meaningful and keeps our impact on the environment at a minimum. What solution is there for this DIY decoration dilemma?

Reuse, of course! Using old materials in brilliant new ways is smart for your style and your wallet. Feast your eyes on the projects below for great ideas that not only repurpose materials, but give your abode the Autumn oomph it needs. Let's get our Fall on, people! 
Apply chalkboard paint to an old painting for a scary-sweet sign!

We've got spirit, yes we do! We love this sign and you should too!

Who says decorations are just for inside? An old chair becomes a fancy fall planter!

This wreath is tops (literally!). It's made from upcycled mason jar lids. Awesome.

This cute little drawer becomes an even cuter little centerpiece!

Reused wood makes a statement as a harvest sign.

Extra glass and terracotta pots come together as a chic fall terrarium.

Candlesticks do double duty as pumpkin pedestals!

Get ready to rake in the complements with this DIY project!

pallets + letters + fall foliage = perfection

These upcycled bottles are as sweet as the real thing...minus the calories. 
By: Sarah Rendo

The Shipping Container Shuffle


September 17, 2013
Maybe you've seen them on trains, boats or flatbed trucks. They're hauled across the country and across the world, their square metal bodies easily recognizable. Their utilitarian build isn't the most glamorous, their boxy shape not the most delicate.  
Shipping containers. 
Probably not the first thing you think of when you're dreaming of your ideal home or office. Maybe not the second, third or fourth either. But several innovative designers have re-imagined these sensible shippers in new and amazing ways. Once just a way to get stuff from point A to point B, these structures are now living exciting second lives as pizza trucks, music stages, starbucks and vacation getaways. Lookout, shipping containers coming through!  
Starbucks recently opened a new location in a shipping container

From cargo holder to quaint hideaway 

Creative companies use containers as vibrant pop up shops 

Containers are stacked on one another for multi-level living

Industrial packaging is repurposed into a pizza kitchen on wheels! 

An architect used 12 shipping containers to create a family getaway in Maine

A Canadian community center welcome hut

A container is upcycled into a music stage

A shipping container can be the perfect self-contained store 

Posted by: Sarah Rendo

Designed for Good: Using What You've Got


September 09, 2013

The way we create our homes and buildings has changed. The way we interact with our manmade environment has changed; LEED certified, passive and zero-energy are just a few of the buzzwords that have ricocheted across the architectural nomenclature in recent years, each with their own merits and advantages.

In their strive for a more symbiotic relationship with nature, forward-thinking architects have embraced a philosophy that firmly encourages us to use what we have, to design with existing materials in mind. Creating homes and businesses around materials that we already have on hand is an incredibly responsible - both environmentally and economically - style of architecture.

A stunning example of this school of thought is actually a school! The Eco Hawk Research Facility, housed on the University of Kansas campus, is a beautiful of example of using what you've got. The Engineering Department, which uses the facility as a lab to create a better electric car, wanted their built environment to reflect their commitment to a lower impact on the natural one.

Designed by Studio 804, Professor Dan Rockhill (more on his work here) and a team of KU architect students, the designs took stock of existing building materials they might take advantage of before creating the plans for the building, upcycling as many items as possible. Which makes sense. Why wouldn't you reuse instead of spending the energy, resources and money involved in creating new ones? Especially when they result in a building as gorgeous as the pictures below show?

Want more information on this amazing project and the brilliant minds behind it? Check out this article here, and this one as well.

Inspiration Index: Sinks


August 30, 2013
If you're like us, you may not spend very much (any) time thinking about sinks. They're nice to have when you need them, but other than in the kitchen or (hopefully) in the bathroom, the percentage of our brain that is taken up by thinking about sinks is...well...slim.  They're porcelain or steel, functional, and pretty much blend into their surroundings.
But what if you could create a sink that would make people stop and stare. A sink that would cause outbursts of "that's gorgeous" or "stunning" or "are you crazy?" We've rounded up amazing examples of DIYers from around the web who have taken an ordinary sink and turned it into a wondrous water basin, an outstanding bathroom accessory, an amazing kitchen accompaniment

Stitch up some style with a reused sewing machine
Ride on! We're loving this bicycle project. 

X marks the spot on this trunk turned bathroom sink

The perfect man cave bathroom accessory

Dress up a bathroom with a beautiful vanity dresser  

We're over a barrel about this rustic, unique bathroom sink

Do your home improvement homework. Make a sink from a wooden desk

Giant bowls make for delicate, colorful washbowls
Transform a table into the perfect bathroom sink 
Posted by: Sarah Rendo

Inspiration Index: Armoires


August 29, 2013
Think of an armoire...quick, what comes to mind?  The image of a bulky, brown, outdated piece of furniture? A dull wardrobe with creaky doors or wobbly shelves? Something your great aunt Greta used to keep her girdles in? (No? Just us? Okay.)

It's time we changed the way we think about these fantastic pieces of furniture. Many have been around for decades, well-built and sturdy. Which means they are the perfect piece of clay from which to mold an incredible, repurposed project. Something which you'll look at and think, "Yep, I made that. And its awesome."

Ready to have your socks rocked? From wine storage to craft organization to a home office, prepare to be amazed by what a few simple updates can do, turning a commonplace cabinet into a dreamy DIY. The best part? It won't cost you an arm(oire) and a leg.

Perfect for storing bulky bedding 

Replace glass with mesh for a sweet, pastoral look 

Embrace your inner Rembrandt with a colorful, graffiti paint job

Get your baking ducks in a row with a stylish makeover

Repurpose an armoire into a chic hideaway home office

Add crisscross shelving for a mini bar that shakes and stirs

Love this clean, creative kid's closet, with a place for everything
Store your tools in this charming outdoor garden station 
This kitchen organizer is gorgeous and functional 

Use a painted armoire for a fun party prep station

Posted by: Sarah Rendo

A Day in the Life


August 27, 2013

For the third task of the Wall Street Journal Startup of the Year competition, we were asked to give viewers a sense of what day-to-day life at PlanetReuse is like. Turns out, life is sometimes hectic, stressful, silly, worthwhile and a whole bunch of other adjectives. We tried to capture everything that an entrepreneur (and all of us really) experience everyday: the mundane activities, the little wins, the frustrations, the hard work.  
To get us up close and personal with our CEO, we slapped a GoPro camera on Nathan (thanks to our ThinkBig Incubator floormates CandyCam for lending it to us) to see what really goes on during his 9 to 5 (more like 6 to 6) day. We're excited to see the video once it's finished. 
Camera Ready
Workin' It 
Wednesday morning is the next round of eliminations. They're halving the competition, letting go of 10 of the remaining 20 startups. We're really hoping to continue on in the program, repping our ridiculously fantastic city and startup community on a national platform.  
While we were filming, the amazing folks from KCTV 5 stopped by and did a really nice piece on our organization and the competition. Check it out below. 


Want to show us some love? Head here and click VOTE. That's it! You've officially supported a KC-based, environmentally driven startup. A huge thank you to everyone that has been a part of the outstanding outpouring of support from our friends and family. We appreciate it more than you know. 

Posted by: Sarah Rendo

The Environmental Excellence Award


August 20, 2013
Recently, we were (pleasantly) surprised to hear we had won the National Demolition Association's Environmental Excellence Award.  The award, which honors organizations that propel the field toward a more sustainably-minded future, was a great honor for us at PlanetReuse.

Part of the construction and demolition industry for more than five years, we've worked hard to make it as easy as possible for building materials to be reused and recycled. Being recognized for these efforts wasn't just a kind acknowledgement (which it was), but also a signal that we are headed in the right direction. A direction that will lead to more materials being reused, less needless landfill waste and buildings created with the environment in mind. We're excited to be a part of that path, illuminating the way to a brighter future and better environment.

Four other teams were recognized with the Award as well.  The work they have undertaken is extremely inspiring and encouraging. Check out the sites below for a deeper look at their winning projects.  
Project: Mohave Generating Station, Laughlin, NV
NDA Member: NCM Demolition & Remediation, Brea, CA
Project:  Revitalizing the City of Saginaw, MI
NDA Member: Bierlein Companies, Inc., Midland, MI
Project:  Plymouth Cordage Mill #2 Demolition and Recycling, Plymouth, MA
NDA Member:  Costello Dismantling Co., West Wareham, MA
Project:  Gaspesia Pulp and Paper Mill, Chandler, QC, Canada
NDA Member: EDS, Montreal, QC, Canada

Know a company that deserves to win next year's Environmental Excellence Award? Nominate them today and recognize an organization for their important environmental efforts.

Read some of the fantastic coverage of the award here, here and here

Posted by: Sarah Rendo

Task 2: Jumping for Joy (And Job Satisfaction)


August 09, 2013

Our second video for the Wall Street Journal Startup of the Year competition debuted today, and we're really happy with it. We watched it first thing this morning as group, laughing as our hilariously flailing bodies whizzed across the screen, grinning as each member of the team was interviewed (and then hit in the face with a dodgeball).
The second task challenged us to discuss a problem with the company culture, then devise an activity addressing that issue. Something we have to deal with as a startup company - one that's comprised of a bunch of passionate, sometimes stubborn people - is communication.  After throwing around a couple of ideas, we landed on trampoline dodgeball as the perfect outing.

Once there, we strapped on bounce boots and headed for the dodgeball court. We divided into teams, hurling plush balls at each other and jumping from square to square. Most of us hadn't played since middle school, so the first few rounds were pretty messy. Eventually we got the hang of it, yelling out instructions to our teammates, coordinating our jumping and throwing, systematically taking out each other's players with the tactician of battlefield strategists. 

By the time we left we were red faced and sweaty, but happy. RaeAnn reminded us that infusing play into our daily lives makes us more productive employees and healthier, more content people. Watch the video above for all of the trampoline glory (keep your eyes peeled for an amazing Jarrod flip).  Also, extra credit to RaeAnn for making it to the homepage of the Wall Street Journal.  We can't wait to see what this competition has in store for us next. Want to see us make it to the next round? VOTE here (please and thank you).

Look who got more space than Buffet AND Zuckerberg.
Posted by: Sarah Rendo

Goals, Gearing Up and Good360 with Carly Fiorina


August 05, 2013

There's a lot of things we like about Carly Fiorina. The fact that she was named one of the most powerful women in business for six years running (six!) is just one of them. Nathan recently sat down with our Startup of the Year mentor for a brief chat about vertical markets, why direction is so important and why being a billion
dollar operation isn't right for everyone.

We were appreciative of her frank advice. "Focus, when you start, is everything," she said, imploring us to concentrate on building out a full product that will create a robust reuse community online, "Don't get distracted by all the shiny little pennies."

We discussed how Good360, the nonprofit that Carly chairs, takes a triple bottom line approach to operations. Good360 funnels surplus retail materials to charities, creating a positive trickle down effect. As champions of reuse, we feel this mission is incredibly important and applaud their commitment to increasing landfill diversion while decreasing needs within communities across the country. We see the opportunity to lend value to her operations down the road, contributing to the path of success they have been walking for some time.

Watch the whole video here, then go to our page on the Wall Street Journal's Startup of the Year competition and vote for us.  We appreciate all the support we've been shown so far and are so happy to be representing an issue as important as reuse.

Posted by: Sarah Rendo

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